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Applesauce and constipation: Foods for Constipation | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Foods for Constipation | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Featured Expert:

  • Emma Slattery, RDN, LDN, CNSC, CSO

If you are experiencing constipation ― difficult or infrequent bowel movements ― what you eat can make a difference. Certain foods can help bring about relief, while others can make the problem worse.

Emma Slattery, a clinical dietitian at Johns Hopkins Medicine, provides insights on foods that help with constipation and foods to avoid when constipated.

Diet and Constipation

Constipation can be occasional or chronic, and causes range from a sedentary lifestyle to gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. But in almost every case of constipation, food is an important factor.

According to Slattery, fiber is a major component of foods that relieve constipation, and of poop itself. She notes that in addition to adding bulk to the stool, fiber and high-fiber recipes provide other digestive benefits:

  • Fiber supports the microbiome: the healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • Fiber also helps gut motility: the coordination of muscle contractions in the intestines that push food along the digestive process.

Foods High in Fiber

Slattery explains that there are two types of fiber found in food: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Foods rich in one or both kinds can relieve both occasional and chronic constipation.

Insoluble Fiber

“Insoluble fiber is what we think of as roughage. This is the material from food that your body cannot break down in digestion,” she says. “It leaves the body pretty much as it goes in.”

Foods high in insoluble fiber include:

  • Skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables
  • Popcorn
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is a type of fiber that dissolves in water. “When dissolved in water in the digestive tract, soluble fiber forms a gel that adds bulk. The gel also acts as a natural stool softener, making bowel movements easier and more comfortable to pass,” Slattery says.

Soluble fiber can be found in:

  • Whole grains
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Oatmeal

Some of the recommended foods for constipation include both types of fiber. For example, potatoes and apples have soluble fiber inside, and insoluble fiber in the outer skin.

Eat more fiber to relieve constipation.

If you’re dealing with occasional constipation, upping your fiber intake for a few days to get back onto a more normal-for-you bowel movement schedule can be sufficient.

For chronic constipation, Slattery suggests consulting with a dietitian who can help you create a more fiber-rich, long-term eating plan. She recommends working up to 25–30 grams of fiber a day for women and 30–38 grams for men.

Increase fiber gradually.

But, she advises, when making dietary changes, easy does it.

“If you are used to eating a diet low in fiber, incorporating a lot of fiber all at once can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, cramping or bloating to actually worsen. The goal is to gradually add in more high-fiber foods so your digestive system has a chance to acclimate.”

High- Fiber Recipes

Are there foods that make you poop instantly?

Slattery says prunes and prune juice live up to their reputation as foods to help constipation due to a unique ingredient.

“In addition to fiber, prunes are rich in a naturally occurring sugar alcohol called sorbitol,” she explains. “Sorbitol molecules do not break down in digestion, and when they reach the colon, the body wants to get rid of them, and the reaction can result in a bowel movement.”

Slattery says apple juice also contains sorbitol, but in lower amounts. “For people who don’t like prunes or prune juice, apple juice can be an alternative.”

What else helps with constipation? Natural Laxatives, Water and More

In addition to increasing fiber, Slattery recommends some other strategies.

Sip a hot beverage.

People who want fast constipation relief can also try drinking hot beverages, especially caffeinated ones like coffee or regular tea. “The temperature of the liquid can speed up digestive motility, and caffeine stimulates the bowels as well,” Slattery says.

Use caution with natural laxatives.

Commercially available constipation supplements with psyllium husks or guar gum, when used occasionally and as directed, are safe for most people. But she recommends using caution when considering other herbal supplements, pills, powders or laxative “teas,” especially for long-term use.

“Some of the so-called ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’ constipation remedies are poorly researched and regulated,” she notes. “Some can cause diarrhea, cramping, bloating and even more serious digestive problems.

Drink more water for constipation.

She also stresses the importance of adequate hydration. Water is essential to helping fiber work its magic.

“The large intestine draws water out of the stool before it’s passed out of the body. So if you are dehydrated due to exercise, hot weather, a medical condition or just not drinking enough water, you can end up with hard, dried-out stool that is more difficult to pass.

“As you increase your dietary fiber, it’s important to increase your hydration at the same time,” she advises.

Can exercise help constipation?

“Absolutely yes,” says Slattery. “Physical activity is essential. Even if you do not feel like exercising because you are constipated and bloated, moving your body will help you move your bowels.”

Foods to Avoid When Constipated

High-fat foods ― those rich in oil, butter and grease ― can contribute to constipation.

If you are chronically constipated, overeating fried food, processed meats, commercially baked goods and other high-fat items may be responsible. Slattery cites cheese as a particular constipation culprit.

“Really high-fat foods slow down digestion,” she says. “Fats are tricky to digest, and take a long time for the body to break down. Also, most high-fat foods are low in fiber and delay motility.”

Q & A: Diet and Constipation

Q. If someone is constipated, does it matter when they eat?

A. “There is not much research around this. But, we know the process of eating stimulates the digestive system end to end, so at least theoretically, keeping a regular daily meal schedule could support regular bowel movements.”

Q. Are there particular diets that cause constipation?

A. “The keto diet, with its high levels of fat, can definitely cause constipation. If you are on a ketogenic diet for health reasons and become constipated, work with a dietitian or doctor to balance your dietary needs with some low-carb fiber sources, such as leafy greens.

“The BRAT diet ― bananas, rice, applesauce and toast ― is one we recommend for a range of digestive issues, and it can help with both constipation and diarrhea.

Intermittent fasting can have variable effects on bowel movement regularity since there are so many different schedules to choose from.”

If you have questions about constipation and diet or any other aspect of nutrition and how it might affect your health, consult a clinical dietitian or a doctor.

Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work?

Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. Research shows that intermittent fasting is a way to manage your weight and prevent — or even reverse — some forms of disease. But how do you do it? And is it safe?

Learn about intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work?

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and
eating on a regular schedule. Research shows that intermittent fasting is a
way to manage your weight and prevent — or even reverse — some forms of
disease. But how do you do it? And is it safe?

What is intermittent fasting?

Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all
about when you eat.

With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Research
shows fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one
meal a couple days a week may have health benefits.

Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson
has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says our bodies have
evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days
or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were
hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive — and thrive — for long
periods without eating. They had to: It took a lot of time and energy to
hunt game and gather nuts and berries.

Experts note that even 50 years ago, it was easier to maintain a healthy
weight in the United States. There were no computers, and TV shows turned
off at 11 p.m.; people stopped eating because they went to bed. Portions
were much smaller. More people worked and played outside and, in general,
got more exercise.

With internet, TV and other entertainment available 24/7, many adults and
children stay awake for longer hours to watch TV, scroll through social
media, play games and chat online. That can mean sitting and snacking all
day — and most of the night.

Extra calories and less activity can mean a higher risk of obesity, type 2
diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Scientific studies are showing
that intermittent fasting may help reverse these trends.

How does intermittent fasting work?

There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are
all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance,
you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for
the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a
week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.

Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar
stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.

“Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most
Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours,” Mattson says. “If
someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not
exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and
not burning their fat stores.”

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has
burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins
burning fat.

Intermittent Fasting Plans

It’s important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting. Once you get his or her go-ahead, the actual practice is simple. You can pick a daily approach, which restricts daily eating to one six- to eight-hour period each day. For instance, you may choose to try 16/8 fasting: eating for eight hours and fasting for 16.

Although some people find it easy to stick with this pattern over the long term, one research study that was not designed specifically to look at an intermittent fasting pattern found that limiting your daily time window of eating does not prevent weight gain over time or yield significant weight loss results. That study’s results showed that reducing the number of large meals or eating more small meals may be associated with minimizing weight gain or even with weight loss over time.

Another intermittent fasting plan, known as the 5:2 approach, involves eating regularly five days a week. For the other two days, you limit yourself to one 500–600 calorie meal. An example would be if you chose to eat normally on every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays, which would be your one-meal days.

Longer periods without food, such as 24-, 36-, 48- and 72-hour fasting periods, are not necessarily better for you, and may be dangerous. Going too long without eating might actually encourage your body to start storing more fat in response to starvation.

Mattson’s research shows that it can take two to four weeks before the body becomes accustomed to intermittent fasting. You might feel hungry or cranky while you’re getting used to the new routine. But, he observes, research subjects who make it through the adjustment period tend to stick with the plan because they notice they feel better.

What can I eat while intermittent fasting?

During the times when you’re not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.

During your eating periods, “eating normally” does not mean going crazy. Research shows that you’re not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.

But what some experts like about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten — and enjoyed. Sharing good, nutritious food with others and savoring the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.

Most nutrition experts regard the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether you’re trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick leafy greens, healthy fats, lean protein and complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits

Research shows that the intermittent fasting periods do more than burn fat. Mattson explains, “When changes occur with this metabolic switch, it affects the body and brain.”

One of Mattson’s studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed data about a range of health benefits associated with the practice. These include a longer life, a leaner body and a sharper mind.

“Many things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect organs against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease and many cancers,” he says.

Here are some intermittent fasting benefits research has revealed so far:

  • Thinking and memory. Studies discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans.
  • Heart health. Intermittent fasting improved blood pressure and resting heart rates as well as other heart-related measurements.
  • Physical performance. Young men who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. Mice who were fed on alternate days showed better endurance in running.
  • Type 2 diabetes and obesity. In animal studies, intermittent fasting prevented obesity. And, in six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight through intermittent fasting. People with type 2 diabetes may benefit: Most of the available research shows that intermittent fasting can help people lose body weight and lower their levels of fasting glucose, fasting insulin and leptin while reducing insulin resistance, decreasing levels of leptin and increasing levels of adiponectin. Certain studies found that some patients practicing intermittent fasting with supervision by their doctors were able to reverse their need for insulin therapy.
  • Tissue health. In animals, intermittent fasting reduced tissue damage in surgery and improved results.

Is intermittent fasting safe?

Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone.

Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting (or any diet), you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:

  • Children and teens under age 18.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People with type 1 diabetes who take insulin. While an increasing number of clinical trials have shown that intermittent fasting is safe in people with type 2 diabetes, there have been no studies in people with type I diabetes. Mattson explains, “Because those with type I diabetes take insulin, there is a concern that an intermittent fasting eating pattern may result in unsafe levels of hypoglycemia during the fasting period.”
  • Those with a history of eating disorders.

But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. “It can be a lifestyle change,” she says, “and one with benefits.”

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.

Causes of children’s constipation and treatment – Encyclopedia Baby food

Levchuk Victoria ©

The child did not have bowel movements for 3 or more days – is it normal or constipated? Infrequent bowel movements of the child hard and dry – the norm or constipation? Find answers to these questions and learn all about constipation in babies.

There are many causes of infantile constipation. One of the most common causes of constipation in children is the introduction of solid foods.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction of solid foods – breastfed infants may be more prone to constipation when complementary foods are introduced. This is because their tiny tummies only absorb mother’s milk easily and well.
  • Diets low in fiber
  • Diets with excessive amounts of dairy products (yogurt, cheeses, milk)
  • Foods such as bananas, applesauce, cereals, bread, pasta and white potatoes may contribute to or cause constipation

A change in diet usually relieves constipation. The following tips will also help to cope with constipation in a child.

How to treat constipation in babies

There are many remedies that can help relieve constipation in a child. You can change the way you feed your baby and/or do some exercise.

Exercises to help relieve constipation in babies include:

  • Stomach Massage – Gently massage and rub the baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction. Put your hands on the navel and massage in a circular motion, moving your hands, from the center of the baby’s abdomen.
  • Bicycle (Legs) – Place the child on his back and keep his legs slightly bent. Carefully begin to move the child’s legs, as if he were riding a bicycle. Also, the “bike” will help relieve the colic of the child.
  • Warm bath – Some health professionals suggest giving a child with constipation a warm bath. The idea is to help the child relax and “get the ball rolling”. And then do a tummy massage when the baby cools down.

Relieve constipation in infants under 4 months of age:

Do all of the above exercises. Be sure to check with your pediatrician about the advisability of introducing new foods/fluids to help relieve constipation. It should also be taken into account that if the child farts, then most likely there will be a bowel movement soon, because before the introduction of complementary foods, the baby may not go to the toilet for up to 5 days, which means that the milk is completely absorbed.

Relieve constipation in infants 4 to 12 months+ by changing dietary intake

Adding more fiber to a child’s diet will help get things moving. Try foods that are high in fiber, such as:

  • apricots
  • prunes
  • peaches
  • plums
  • pears
  • peas
  • 9001 1 spinach

For older children who are just starting complementary foods, you can avoid foods such as rice, applesauce and bananas in baby food as they can aggravate constipation.

If the child suffers from constipation, then it is necessary to put him on the opposite diet from BRAT.

BRAT diet is used to treat diarrhea in young children because the foods in it help to thicken the stool. The easiest and most natural way to remember how to help relieve constipation in a child is to avoid foods that affect him! BRAT diet suggests eating:

  • Bananas,
  • Rice,
  • Applesauce and
  • Toast

If you ever forget what foods you should give up in your diet, then just remember the name Brat diet!

Barley or oatmeal, prunes, peaches, plums, apricots, and most vegetables are preferred foods when a child is constipated.

Juices are useful, especially apple or plum juices, but should be used in moderation as they are not as nutritious for babies as formula or breast milk.

Why can I give my child apple juice but NOT applesauce?

There is a difference in the amount of sugar and pectin in apple juice and apple puree.

Apple juice contains more sugar and liquid, so it helps relieve constipation.

Applesauce is the whole fruit. It may contain higher levels of pectin – and can lead to constipation.

Apple juice also has a mild laxative effect, which can help provide relief from bowel movements commonly experienced by young children.

Apples contain pectin, which will add bulk to the stool and, with its cleansing action, will stimulate intestinal motility. They have a laxative effect, but are also used to help people return to normal eating habits after suffering bouts of diarrhea.

Pectin is found in apple fiber, which is probably why whole apples thicken stools. In addition, the same pectin is an excellent prophylactic against constipation, so that the intestines work regularly and prevent constipation. However, it must be understood that this will help prevent constipation by helping to keep the intestines in good condition, but will not help relieve constipation.

When it comes to proper bowel function, apples contain two types of fiber; insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber works like roughage, while soluble fiber (pectin), which is found primarily in the skin, acts as a stool softener by drawing water into the stool and increasing stool bulk. Since pectin strengthens excessively loose stools, it is also used to treat diarrhea.

It must be remembered that a pediatrician’s consultation regarding the introduction of complementary foods for the baby and discussion of any new products, in order to avoid food allergies, is mandatory.

Constipation in breastfed and formula fed babies

Breastfed babies may become constipated when complementary foods are introduced, but not as severely as formula fed babies. When breastfeeding, babies experience less discomfort with stools, since breast milk is almost 100% completely digested and used by the growing body of the child. Breast milk leaves little “residue” to cause constipation. Many breastfed babies have infrequent bowel movements, but this does not mean that they are constipated.

Formula-fed babies tend to have more constipation than breastfed babies. Unlike breast milk, formula is not easily absorbed by the body and is not completely absorbed and used by the baby’s body.

Excessive consumption of rice cereals, bananas and applesauce and other similar foods are among the most common causes of constipation.

Some products strengthen, others weaken, why?

10 Oct 2022 18:35:00

Simply put, easily digestible foods containing little fiber do not make the intestines work and strengthen accordingly (rice, white bread). Products
containing a large amount of fiber and coarse fibers (vegetables and fruits) weaken. By irritating the intestinal walls, they cause it to contract, pushing food through

As a natural remedy for constipation and to stimulate work
intestines in a child, use the extraction of vegetables and herbs (squeeze juice from carrots, parsley, beets and other vegetables, the remaining fibers and there will be coarse fibers in a clean

An exercise that stimulates intestinal motility helps with constipation in a child: bend the left leg and right arm and reach with the elbow to
knee 15 times, then vice versa.

If the child has constipation, half a glass of warm water on an empty stomach in the morning will help. And then, during the day, you can add a little (for a child 3
years, no more than 1 tsp) of vegetable or olive oil in food (for example, in stewed vegetables).

Baked apples and pears (pectins) are also useful for constipation. But raw grated
an apple on an empty stomach (a recipe that helps with constipation in adults) is strictly forbidden for children. Since children already have an increased level of gastric secretion.

“Which foods strengthen and which weaken?”



Biscuits (from premium flour)

Gran at

Fatty meat

Mashed potatoes

Meat broth (strong)

Mint tea

Bananas (underripe, green)

Pears (underripe, hard)

Oak bark decoction

Rice (white, not washed)

premium flour)

Chamomile tea






Applesauce (namely puree!)






Bananas (
overripe, soft)



Pears (overripe, soft)


Cabbage (boiled)




Seaweed (kelp)






Apples (whole)

Sour milk
, from the date of manufacture of which no more than 1 day has passed – weaken.